Boat from Parapat to Tomok

Fery From Parapat to Tomok

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Exploring Ambarita Stone Chair Village

Ambarita is an ancient Batak tribal village on Samosir Island, in Lake Toba. It is located an hour’s walk northwest from Tuk Tuk or about 20 minutes by boat. I visited it together with a small group of AsiaExplorers members.

What makes Ambarita interesting, from an anthropological standpoint, is that during ancient times the Toba Batak people of Ambarita practised a form of carnibalism. What remains today is the cluster of stone chairs where the village elders held council. Whenever an enemy was captured, the elders would invite the rulers of neighbouring villages to a conference, to determine the fate of the victim. The victim is held in behind bars under one of the houses.

If it is determined that the victim deserved death, he is taken to a dining table where he is clobbered to death. There is a boulder where the victim is beheaded. After that, he is chopped up, his flesh is cooked with buffalo meat, and served to the tribal council, who completed the meal with a beverage of the victim’s blood!

We arrived at Ambarita by boat. From the jetty, we were first shown the tomb of Laga Siallagan, the first raja of Ambarita. From there, we were led to the ancient Batak village where there is a row of traditional Toba Batak houses. As I examined the houses, which are still used today, I find that many of them have zinc roofing, somewhat removing the romanticism I would associate with visiting this place. I suppose zinc roofing would be more long lasting, although I would have preferred that the villagers retained the original roofing which I assume should be ijuk thatch made from coconut fibre.

From the row of traditional houses, we moved on to view the stone chairs and the cage where victims are incarcerated. I am surprise to see that there is also a stone figure sitting on one of the chairs, and we had our photos taken with “him”.

A short distance from the stone chairs is the place where victims meet their death. Our guide demonstrated how the Bataks go about with the procedure. He also showed us the Batak calendar and other tribal implements. On the hill above are the graves of the tribal elders as well as a monument to Raja Laga Siallagan. From the appearance of the monuments and graves, it appears that the tribal elders have embraced Christianity, but I could not determine whether these Christian elders are the ones who were still practising carnibalism. FBHENCK6KJFM

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Exploring Prapat at Toba Lake

The town of Prapat, as seen from our chartered boat on Toba Lake. We stayed at the Danau Toba International Cottage, which is the row of building with red roofs at water’s edge.

Prapat, also written Parapat, is a small town on the eastern shore of Lake Toba, about 170km from Medan, in North Sumatra. Since colonial times, Prapat has been a weekend getaway and resort town for those escaping the heat and bustle of Medan. In my opinion, although some places in Prapat, especially along the shore, is quite scenic, on the whole, it is not a pretty town. In fact, there is no good reason to remain long at Prapat. Despite being a tourist town for generations, there is actually little in terms of attractions that is available to visitors to Prapat, and tourists are well advised to proceed to Samosir Island.

I explored Prapat with a small group of AsiaExplorers members, on our way to Lake Toba. We spent a night here before crossing over to Samosir Island the following day. While in Prapat, we stayed at the Danau Toba International Cottage, a 2-star establishment which is already one of the better hotels in Prapat. It is centrally located with rooms right at the water’s edge. The creative comfort was very basic. There was no air conditioning, so it was quite warm for us at night.

Our hotel is located close to the Prapat market, so it offered us an opportunity to explore and find out how the locals live. Prapat is situated on a hilly decline, and many of its houses cling to the slope, linked by the narrow hill roads. Their zinc roofs sprout a multitude of satellite dishes. There was a small number of shophouses in Prapat, but I could not find a single shop that sells guidebooks, maps or even postcards.

For want of something better to do, we chartered a boat to go out into the lake, where we enjoyed a lovely sunset view of Prapat and Samosir Island.

On the following morning, I walked along the edge of Lake Toba to explore another section of Prapat which is separated by the hills. I saw big sections of the lake overgrown with water hyacinths. There was another market on this part of town, but it lacks any particular charm to leave a lasting impression in me.

To reach Samosir Island from Prapat, we were provided with another chartered boat that took us sightseeing in different parts of Samosir Island. Otherwise, visitors can take the ferry that goes from Prapat to Tomok, one of the main villages on the eastern coast of the island.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Don’t Forget to Watch Sigale Gale in Samosir

If you ever go to Samosir-Toba Lake may you know about sigale gale. but if you never listen furthermore see it, please go to tomok on samosir. the begin after you arrive in parapat, you must across lake toba by Fery boat. when i go to there, the cost about Rp.5.000, but i dont know how much the cost is. the trip to acroos to tomok about 1/2 hours. After you arrive in Tomok you will listen a traditional music from sigale gale.

Sigale-gale is marionette that correspond with the son of king in samosir hundred years ago. when the
son died. the parents is so sad. at last because the parents very love his son, their parents make doll that correspond with his son. then the doll is connected with line so the doll can dance. the doll wear traditional batak clothe with ulos in pick a back. with the traditional music, si gale-gale will dance so he looks like life. according a stroies the line that conected sigale-gale to the mover si gale-gale have same muscle with human.

When the music is playing and sigale gale begin dance you will fell the magic situation that make you shudder.

well, so there are many carm there, but dont afraid it is not happen to you. so dont forget watch sigale gale in samosir.

Tor Tor and Gondang

Tor-tor is a typical dance from the island of Samosir around Toba Lake, dedication has been used as art and culture in north sumatra especially Batak ethnic. Tor Tor (Traditional Batak Dance) play with Gondang (Traditional Batak Music). You can see Tor Tor and Gondang in Batak ceremony.

In Samosir Sigale Gale (Batak dancing with puppet Sigale Gale) play with Gondang. Sigale Gale are Batak Puppet Boy make from wooden and to make it move like dancing Tor Tor follow the music Gondang using string and move depend to puppeter. Tortor Sigale Gale do in Batak ceremony when parent or somebody was dead and not have child (generation). Old time ago the ceremony called as Papurpur Sapata. And now Tor Tor Sigale Gale are dance and music ceremony for say welcome to tourist.

Musical instruments: Flute, Tulila (type of small trumpet), Hasapi (a two-stringed kecapi, small ‘cello’), Saga-Saga (a kind of harmonica), Tanggetang (a small ukulele), Ogung (gong) which includes Oloan, Doal and Panggora, one set of percussion instruments (Gordang, Tataganing and Odap), Hombung (pieces of metal tuned differently stored in a chest), Sarune (a reed instrument), etc.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Drinking in Toba Lake

There is one discotheque on Fri and Sat nights - expect the latest 80s music. Better to drink at your guest house generally.

Saturday night is often the highlight on the local calendar. You can hear a chorus of parties going around the Tuk Tuk area. At Samosir Cottages you will also see a wonderful local Batak performance that is a mixture of traditional dances and fantastic drinking songs (Lesoy!!- Cheers!!). Everyone is so talented it seems as the local people watching the performance also join in or start up their own sing along table after the main show. Harry and his Dad both perform in the band and sell a fantastic souvenir that you will enjoy when back at home.

There are also a number of fine spots around the Tuk Tuk area to catch a sunset beer. Reggae Bar is perched high up looking over the lake while the Hibiscus Bar on main street is hosted by two wonderful local girls and plays cool tunes with a little encouragement. Thats the thing to remember in Tuk Tuk. This area is in a depressed tourist state but is actual a wonderful gem that should be on the world stage. So while some places may look like not much is going on- GO IN - and the momemtum will build into a fun filled night with new friends.

Eating in Toba Lake

The main road around Tuktuk is lined with small restaurants of varying quality. Also on offer is magic mushroom and various "happy herb" pizzas if you want that.
  • Jenny's Restaurant, (There is only one or two roads so simply ask for Jenny's.). Jenny and her husband Rinto run the very simple but cozy restaurant with view on the wonderful lake Toba. You will notice that every day the table cloth are being changed, a usually rare to find nicety and convenience. The curry is delicious. A must-try is the fresh lake-fish, steamed or grilled. Even western food like Schnitzel (breaded pork or chicken chop pan fried) is very good. For dessert try the fresh papaya that grows in the back-yard or a golden-brown banana pancake with chocolate sauce and a sprinkle of coconut. Once all the guests in the small place with only about 5 tables are fed and happy, Rinto will take the guitar from the wall and entertain his patrons
  • Cotney Restaurant, (by the Samosir resort). Specialties include delcious rendanags, curries, and the best smiles on the island by the two lovely sisters who run the restaurant. Internet is also offered for the cheapest price on the island.
  • Maruba Restaurant, Tuk-tuk (In between Ambaroba Hotel and Rodeo Accommodation). Ita Manurung cooks delicious food, including traditional Batak & Indonesian food. Her boneless fish curry is sensational. She also cooks a variety of Western meals such as schnitzels and stuffed roast chicken and bakes fresh bread and baguettes most days. You can order a Batak feast one day in advance. There are a selection of main dishes to choose from and all are served with Batak style vegetable dishes and rice. Some choices are Ikan Na Neura (Very fresh raw fish marinated with candlenuts, spices & lime juice), Napinadar (Batak style curry made with grilled chicken), Saksang (Chopped pork cooked with Batak spices and fresh pig's blood (blood is optional!).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Toba Lake Hotels and Accommodation (2)

There are numerous hotels and guest houses, mainly in Tuk tuk but with a few scattered in other small towns around the island. During Chinese New Year (end of Jan/early Feb), many Indonesians come for vacation and will pay generously for their rooms (about triple the rate). To accommodate these guests, some guest house owners may ask their existing guests to vacate their rooms, but only giving them very short notice. Therefore, when arriving before Chinese New Year, check with the guest house owner to ensure your stay will not be interrupted.
  • Bagus Bay, Bagus Bay, +62-625-451287, is a lovely place next to the lake. A dark wood and bamboo bar/restaurant give the place a particularly relaxed feel. The rooms are basic and range between Rp.30,000 and Rp.100,000. Good food and cold beer at a reasonable price.
  • Barbara`s Guesthouse, Ambarita, +62-625-7000230 (, is a small quite relaxing place a few km from Tuk Tuk with lovely scenery and very good swimming. Rooms are clean and located in several houses. Prices per night from Rp. 35000 upwards. Western- and Indonesian style food is served in the restaurant and on the terasse direct to the lake. Guesthouse manager Gordon gives gladly general tourist information and good tips about Sumatra
  • Hotel Carolina, Tuk-tuk, +62-625-451210 ( A nice place with 49 rooms set in a lush tropical garden. It has a good restaurant with a verandah overlooking the lake. Staff is very helpful. Prices start with a bargain of Rp.50.000 for small Batak style cottages up the hill with cold water only and go up to Rp.100.000 for the luxury rooms on the lake shore which come with hot water, a bath tub and a fridge. Rates subject to a 10% tax. Good access to the lake for swimming with a pontoon to relax. The Hotel can organise trips, rents out motorbikes, has an internet parlour and even offers free WiFi, though the speed can be very slow.
  • Christina Guesthouse, Tuk-tuk, +62-625-451027, is a small relaxing place with lovely scenery and good swimming. Rooms are clean and located in several houses (e.g. traditional Batak-houses). Prices per night from Rp. 50000 upwards. Internet & Skype are available for reasonable price. Western- and Indonesian style food is served in the restaurant. Guesthouse manager Juan gives gladly general tourist information and good tips about Sumatra.
  • Liberta Homestay, Sosor Galung, +62-625-451035. is a good budget choice for 35000Rp/night+. It has quiet private cabins on the lake. Friendly owner Mr Moon will sing, cook, and go out of his way for you.
  • Mas Cottages. Mas Cottages is closer to the ancient ceremonial stone chairs than downtown Tuk-Tuk. It is a quiet sanctuary from the rest of the world with a variety of accommodation options all directly on the lake including VIP suites and traditional Batak houses. Safety and security are unparalled at Mas Cottages. Prices are a bit higher for this secluded location at 60-70,000 rps.
  • Romlan, +62-625-451386 ( is a small guesthouse with about 15 rooms and includes two batak cottages (40,000 per night) and traditional rooms in a single and two storey building (about 60,000 per night). The rooms are super clean and very comfortable with attached bathroom and nice furniture. All rooms have direct lake view and the swimming area is good for swimming and relaxing. Also great local and indonesian food including some German meals. Highly recommended. Ask the boat to stop at the private dock.
  • Samosir Cottages, Tuk-tuk, +62-625-451170 (, accommodates many of the travellers who arrive late in Parapat, as there is usually a representative to ship them to the cottages. This is not a bad thing, however - the place is large, with a big variety in the price of rooms (Rp 30,000 and upwards). The waterfront is clean, and the restaurant is large and serves good food.The Batak music performing every Wednesday night and Saturday Night is great Ron the Boss and Togi the driver will be very helpful and sincere people. They also own Samorsir Villa Resort 5 minutes drive away which is newly built in 2007.
  • Tabo Cottages, Tuk-tuk, +62-625-451318 (, The rooms are very clean and quite modern by Sumateran standards. They have free Wi-Fi and the western-styled food served in the restaurant is very good. Prices start at around Rp.120,000 per night and climb up from there.
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